Not many high school football players from Western Pennsylvania get a good, solid look from Florida State University.
So when Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher likes a player's potential, it's hard to ignore an offer. According to Central Catholic High School coach Terry Totten, that's what happened with rising senior quarterback J.J. Cosentino.
"Florida State did a thorough job recruiting him," said Totten, who is entering his ninth season as the Vikings head coach. "Sal Sunseri recruits Western Pennsylvania, but it was Jimbo Fisher who made the call to go after J.J. after seeing him at a combine.
"It usually works the other way around where you have to go through the recruiter, the position coach, the coordinator and then the head coach. It was the other way around this time with Jimbo Fisher saying he wanted to recruit J.J., and that's fairly rare in this business."
Fisher had a knowledgeable voice to confirm his beliefs about Cosentino in Sunseri.
In his first season on the Seminoles staff as the team's defensive ends coach, Sunseri has strong local ties as he played both at Central Catholic and the University of Pittsburgh and began his coaching career in 1985 on the Panthers' football staff.
He joined Fisher's staff this season after spending one season at Tennessee (defensive coordinator and linebackers coach) and three years as the inside linebackers coach at Alabama under Nick Saban.
Cosentino, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound right-hander, cannot sign a letter-of-intent until after his senior season -- Feb. 5, 2014 to be exact. But it didn't take him long to figure out that Tallahassee, Fla., would be a great place to spend the next four or five years.
His mom and dad, Loren and Mark, agreed.
"It was the best fit for me overall," said Cosentino, who turns 18 on Sept. 18. "I liked what they had to offer athletically as well as academically. Jimbo Fisher has sent many quarterbacks to the [National Football League]. I also liked the warm weather."
Plenty of schools took a look at Cosentino, who expects to have a banner year this season with the Vikings.
"Besides Florida State, I looked at Penn State, South Florida, Akron and Temple," he said. "Penn State was right there with Florida State, but coach [Bill] O'Brien said they wouldn't be able to offer as many scholarships and that would delay the process. I liked it there, but it wasn't the best place for me."
Cosentino, who resides in Allegheny Township, Westmoreland County, has visited the Florida State campus three times.
"I went down there on Junior Day before I committed, and then my dad and I visited, and then I was there last month at their football camp," he said.
Cosentino wants to major in business management with a minor in business marketing, but he hopes that career can be put on hold until after what he hopes is a lengthy career in the NFL.
Cosentino's high school football career actually began at Kiski Area High School where he played some varsity games as a sophomore in 2011. He transferred to Central Catholic during that academic year.
"I just felt it was a better fit for me academically," he said.
Although the WPIAL ruled him ineligible after his transfer, the PIAA overturned that decision and he was allowed to play last year.
The focus right now, though, is on a senior season that features 60 players returning from the 2012 Vikings team that advanced to the WPIAL Class AAAA quarterfinals in November.
"We have all but one starter back on the offensive line, and we have all of our backs and receivers returning. We're excited, and we hope to get where we need to be."
Both Totten and Cosentino expect the quarterback's passing numbers to increase significantly this season. A year ago, he completed 43 of 98 passes (43.9 percent) for 552 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
"We like to throw the ball 18 to 20 times a game," Totten said. "We also like to get some runs out of our tailback and run the quarterback, too. J.J. can get us out of jams. He can throw and he can run. He's an athlete. He has all of the throws. He can throw the ball well over 50 yards, and he runs the 40 [yard dash] in about 4.8 [seconds]."
Totten and Fisher aren't the only ones who believe in Cosentino. The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl has invited him to play in its all-star game on Jan. 5, 2014, at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.
"I found out I was going to the game last spring after I went to the UnderArmour camp at Montour," he said. "I was evaluated, and I was one of the first guys picked. It's awesome to be playing in one of the three big [national] high school all-star games."
Before that game and right after the Vikings' first game against Shaler Area, Cosentino will make a familiar trip to Heinz Field on Labor Day to watch the Seminoles welcome Pitt into the Atlantic Coast Conference.
"My family has had season tickets to Pitt games my whole life," he said. "They've been Pitt fans their whole lives, but that will change. My whole family is extremely happy that I'm going to Florida State."